10 Scholarship Tips to Make Your Travel Dreams a Reality
As director for the Ambassadors Scholarship Foundation, I have the honor of reading a great many scholarship applications. I’ve observed a variety of different techniques that different students have used to try to ensure they are picked: sending it in a fancy envelope or binder, including a personal photo, and enclosing hand painted artwork. All are attempts to lock in a scholarship. Let me share with you ten tips that will ACTUALLY help you improve your chances of being selected. Sadly, we receive many more outstanding and scholarship-worthy applications than we can fund, but these tips will give you a fighting chance.
- Participate in extracurricular activities. Most scholarship committees do not simply choose the student with the highest grade point average (GPA) or SAT score. Extracurricular activities play a major role in the process. Is the applicant involved in their community? Does she have an after-school job? Did he start his own business? What hobbies does she have? The scholarship committees are interested in giving the award to the person they consider the most well-rounded student.
- Identify and meet the Foundation's specific scholarship goals. Who wins scholarships? The student who best meets the formal and informal requirements. As simple as this may seem, many students simply meet the bare requirements and hope for the best. Do not do this! Read through all the scholarship information and watch for details and clues about the requirements—both explicit and implicit. For example, our Ambassadorial Spirit scholarship is looking for students who best exemplify what it is to be an ambassador and demonstrate this in their daily lives. By meeting the goals you increase your chance of winning exponentially!
- Double check the eligibility requirements. Does the scholarship require demonstrated need? Or a minimum GPA? Double checking the eligibility requirements will save you time spent in writing unnecessary scholarship applications.
- Follow the directions. Unfortunately, we have had to ignore many otherwise great applications simply because they didn't follow directions—they're too long, too short, or fail to answer complete questions. Make sure you follow all directions and address all questions asked.
- Watch the deadline like a hawk. We receive piles of scholarship applications every year that arrive after the deadline has passed. When students are applying to many scholarships at once it is easy to confuse the deadlines and send the applications on the wrong date.
- Be honest. Our scholarship committees are made up of educated and knowledgeable people. Stating that you once won a Nobel Peace Prize when you did not can easily be confirmed. The discovery of even the smallest white lie can instantly terminate your chances and even make you ineligible for future scholarships. Make sure you're honest and accurate in your applications.
- Write an accomplishments resume. When approaching a scholarship application, it can be difficult to remember important pieces of information. The date that you started work at a certain job or what your boss said about your work. Looking for this information can break your concentration, lower your writing quality, and decrease your chance of winning the scholarship. Before you start applying for scholarships, write an accomplishments resume. On this resume include all the important information such as dates, a summary of your work, and recommendations.
- Use concrete examples in essays. If the scholarship requires that you write an essay (and most do), don't simply use generic examples. For example, instead of writing an abstract essay about philanthropy, write about your volunteer experiences. This is an excellent time to use your accomplishments resume.
- Proofread your application one more time. How can you increase your chance of winning in under 5 minutes? By proofreading your application. Most scholarship committees do not even consider scholarship applications that have major blunders. Did you get your address right? Did you get the scholarship name right?
- Like the Ambassadors Foundation on Facebook. We frequently post tips and additional information about our scholarships on our Facebook page. By "liking" the Foundation's Facebook page you both show your support for the Foundation and gain access to this extra information.
Hopefully these 10 tips have been helpful. I don’t want the application process to be a discouraging process for any student, and I, our board, and volunteers appreciate every student who takes the time to apply.
Director of the Ambassadors Scholarship Foundation